It may be the most exciting day of the year for Melbourne’s many footy fans, but unfortunately Grand Final day is also one of the busiest days for family violence workers. Victoria Police say that they see a 20 per cent increase family violence on Grand Final days.
It’s even worse in New South Wales, with the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research revealing an increase of around 40 per cent in domestic violence on State of Origin game days. And in the UK, a National Healthcare Service (NHS) campaign to address the issue revealed that domestic violence incidents increase by 26 per cent if England plays and 38 per cent if England loses in World Cup games.
So, why do these sporting events lead to increased family violence? Heightened emotions and gambling are said to be factors, and alcohol certainly plays a part. The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education reports that alcohol is involved in up to 65 per cent of family violence incidences reported to the police. Alcohol both increases the likelihood of family violence occurring and increases the severity of the violence.
For the same reasons as football-related family violence, Melbourne Cup Day is another high-risk day.
The RCH says that family violence is unacceptable at all times. Family violence can have long-term effects on the health and wellbeing of children, babies and young people.
If you are experiencing family violence, there are many support services available. If you or your child are in immediate danger, call the police on 000. Otherwise, contact:
- 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault and family violence counselling service, available online and on the phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre (1800 015 188) – crisis service providing support and access to refuges for women and children, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- Kids Helpline (1800 551800) – a private and confidential phone and online counselling service available for children and young people aged five to 25, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- No to Violence (1300 766 491) – national referral service working with men to end family violence, available in Victoria weekdays 8 am – 9 pm, weekends 9 am – 5 pm.
- MensLine (1300 789 978) – telephone and online counselling service specialising in family and relationship concerns, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Our Kids Health Info fact sheet Family violence – effects on children’s health has valuable information on how family violence impacts children and ways to help them.
Healthcare professionals may wish to consult our Family Violence Clinical Practice Guideline.